We had the incredible pleasure of speaking with Michael, a participant who completed our Journey to Success Program. The Journey to Success (JTS) program aims to provide the skills for individuals to join the workforce or change career paths.
“It is designed to meet the needs of unemployed and marginally employed Indigenous people to support them in addressing barriers to employment in order to obtain and maintain long term employment.”
Michael spoke of his personal experiences that led him to the JTS program, experiences that many of us have had to face. Such as struggles finishing high school and therefore entering the workforce and bouncing around jobs a bit until he got his GED. With this success, he was able to start working in the sheet metal industry. However, like many of us, when COVID hit, he lost his job. This is what led him to apply for JTS.
JTS works with Indigenous people to overcome the obstacles but on them in regard to employment and establish themselves in a sustainable career. The JTS program offers:
- 6 weeks Employment Preparation and Employment Skills Development with 1 week of assisted job search
- 4-week job shadow for students who are struggling with finding employment
- one-on-one employment counseling, service management and job maintenance support
- 90 days supported follow up
In saying this, there are many underlying components to this program; as Michael puts it: “It’s all about showing up”. He said this program taught him that it is ok to ask for help and made him “wake up feeling thankful for another day”. (Michael)
Besides these lessons Jake Greyeyes, the Facilitator/Case Manager for JTS, says that a huge outcome for a lot of the graduates is that self-esteem and self-respect are built throughout the program. This is done in many ways; one of them being by developing cultural awareness, “…by living in your culture and the cultures around you.” (Jake Greyeyes)
Overall, the Journey to Success program encourages participants to push themselves and to believe in their ability to succeed. It’s hard work but you have guidance and support every step of the way and as a graduate of this program you learn that no matter what: you have the ability to succeed, simply by showing up.